Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


I 82                          HAIR OF

strange, huge, ugly monster, which had Its abode in the Cordillera
to the south of latitude 37. The Tehiaelches and the G-ennakens
have mentioned similar animals to me5 of whose existence their
ancestors had transmitted the remembrance ; and in the neigh-
bourhood of Bio Negro, the aged Cacique Sinchel, in 18*75,
pointed out to me a cave, the supposed lair of one of these
monsters, called ' Ellengassen ' ; but I must add that none of the
many Indians with whom I have conversed in Patagonia have
ever referred to the actual existence of animals to which we can
attribute the skin in question,"
A rude painting in a cavern, in red ochre, seems to Dr.
Moreno (whose words we have just quoted) to be somewhat
suggestive of a Glyptodon. There are some reasons for believing
that this quadruped was kept by man as a domestic creature.
In the cave are two walls of rough pieces of stone which seem-
to have dropped down owing to the wearing away of the roof;
they also seem to have been loosely piled together to form two
walls, within which enclosure an imperfect skull of the animal was
found. This skull shows clearly that the so-called " Weo-m^lodon **
must be referred to GrlossotJieTiu'm or ChypotTwrri/u/m,, as it is
sometimes termed. This skull is perforated on the roof in such
a way as could only have been effected (in the opinion of
experts) by a weapon in the hand of a man. A hole in the skin
has been even compared to a bullet-wound. But this it is per-
haps unnecessary to discuss. The skin of GflossotJieriwrn, is, like
that of other extinct " G-round-sloths " (e.g. J/i/lodon), filled with
small and irregular ossicles. But in Jlfylodon, the sculptured
appearance of the dermal ossicles appears to indicate that they
reached the surface of the body and. were covered by epidermis
alone, which is not the case with the animal now under con-
sideration. The microscopic characters of the ossicles, too> show
differences in the two. Glos&otheri'&'m, being ** precisely inter-
mediate between Mylodon and the existing Axmadillo (.Dct^/ptis)."
IN"ow GlossotJieriu-m and Mylodon are regarded as forms which lie
between the existing Anteaters and the Sloths of the same part
of the world. We have already pointed out the facts of structure
which lead to. this conclusion. It might therefore be reasonably
surmised that the hair of Glossotfo&rvwm, would be also inter-
mediate, or at least like that of one of the two genera
and   J&rttdyjpug.'      !But   microscopical   investigation